To QR or Not to QR?

Do QR codes really work?

Sample QR code - The Web AdvisorsQR codes, the darling of the marketing world.

More and more organizations are incorporating these little black and white (or custom) beauties into their advertising in the hopes of luring potential customers to their latest contest or special. The million dollar (is that enough anymore?) question is, do QR codes work?  I think that depends on who you ask. Let’s consider a common implementation of the QR code such as on an advertising poster, in a brochure or in a magazine.

In each of these situations, it is expected that:
a) the potential client get their smart phone out and turned on.  Most do anyway but for those that don’t, this takes time and effort.
b) the potential client has an appropriate app installed on their phone to read the QR code and that they can capture a clear image and finally
c) the QR code then takes them somewhere valuable. This is key because if I have gone to all that effort to get out my cell phone, install the app and scan the code, please tell me you are not just taking me to your website to find out more information.
Because I probably could have Googled it faster.
Personally I think QR codes have some great potential. I’m just not sure that the average person has caught up to the marketing world.  Ask my husband what a QR code is and he’ll say “What?”  Ask our 16 yr old what a QR code is and he’ll say “Those little black and white boxes?”  “Yes.  Ever use one?” “Nah, but I’ve got the app installed.”  Now tell me who spends more time on their smartphone than a 16 yr old?  It is in all ways possible an extension of his being.

My point is that QR codes are something that you need to be prepared to use. If you don’t know how and it isn’t clear, you are likely not going to learn at the window where the poster is displayed.

And please, if I do go to all the effort required to scan your code, make it worth my while or I might just think that that is allany of them do and not bother with the rest.

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